A co-worker or a family member calls you early one morning to ask if you've seen the news. Your employer has closed their doors for good, which means that you are suddenly out of a job. Here is a quick plan on what you should do almost immediately.
Probably not the first thing you would ordinarily see on a list, but let's be realistic. You planned to get up today and go to work so that you could collect a paycheck. Now there is no work and no paycheck. You're entitled to some panic, tears, and worry. Allow yourself this.
Call the Unemployment Office
Dry your tears and contact your new best friends - the people who work at the unemployment office. Find out what you need to do to begin collecting unemployment. Also, ask about reasons why you would not be eligible to receive a check (i.e. working a part-time job, not submitting your work search documentation, etc.). The goal of the unemployment office is to provide money and work search support to help you through this rough time. Make sure you know the rules and the opportunities provided by this friendly staff.
Misery loves company, so make sure that you stay connected with your former co-workers... but not to be miserable together. Instead, provide support and job assistance for each other. Your former co-workers could be the best people to help you polish off your resume, since they know what you accomplished in your prior job. It also helps to cry on the shoulder of someone that is not a family member. They might also run across the perfect job for you during their job search.
Be Kind to Each Other... but Ruthless with Money
You need to be kind to both yourself and your family members during this time. Like it or not, they are going through this time of unemployment with you. Make an effort to be nice to each other, since you are all feeling the stress. But don't interpret nice as "I need to go on an expensive vacation to de-stress." You need to carefully watch your money until you get another job. If your credit does take a nosedive, don't let it spoil your job search.
Lastly, call your utility companies and other organizations to which you owe money and see if you can work out a payment plan in light of the sudden situation. It's better to call them first, than to ignore bills and, later, have collection agencies hounding you.
Your employer might have closed their doors on you, but you will find another job. Consider this a bump in the road... it may feel like a rut for awhile, but you will climb out of this.
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